General Stanley McChrystal (U.S. Army, Retired) led the covert Joint Special Operations Command from 2003 to 2008, developing and implementing a strategy that changed how counterterrorism warfare was being conducted. In 2009, he took command of U.S. and inter?national forces in Afghanistan. He retired in 2010. He is the co-author of Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World and co-founder of consulting firm the McChrystal Group.
We?re all scared by different things at different times. The greatest fear for me is failing the organization. It?s not fear of getting shot at, or worrying that you?re going to crash the airplane, or something like that, because in those dangerous situations, you?re usually busy. You?re not thinking about the danger at the time. I mean, it?s in the back of your mind, but you don?t dwell on it ?cause you?ve got stuff to do, and that?s a welcome distraction. But what I fear is that I will fail. Of course, there?s the idea that I will personally fail–there?s the embarrassment and the frustration of that. But much more important is that you?ve gotten a lot of people to commit and make an act of faith.
In the Thick of It
Stanley McChrystal, as commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, meets with Afghan and French military leaders in March 2010. Three months later, an article in Rolling Stone magazine quoted McChrystal criticizing several Obama administration officials involved in war planning. He resigned from his Afghanistan command shortly afterward. A Department of Defense investigation cleared him of any wrongdoing.
When I went to Afghanistan in 2009, I had been home less than a year. When I was told I was going back to Afghanistan, I said, ?OK, I gotta put the band back together.? I started making calls and reaching out to people. I said, ?We?re gonna go to Afghanistan and back into the fight. Are you willing to leave your family and do that?? A lot of them dropped what they were doing at great personal sacrifice.
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